1948: NHS formed. 1952: King George died; I was born, (prematurely, by caesarean). In December the Great Smog blanketed London with a right ‘pea souper’ for five days, killing thousands. 1954: End of food rationing after WW2.
1957: The Wolfenden Report was published, recommending that ‘homosexual behaviour between consenting adults in private should no longer be considered a criminal offence’.
1962: Aged ten, I ran away. Having saved my pocket money, I bought a ticket to Dover for 10/3d: ten shillings and threepence (later 51 ‘new pence’). Train to Paddington; tube across London; then travelled in the guard’s van. But the guard was suspicious. I spent the rest of the day in the police station, until my mother arrived around midnight. Tour of Dover Castle the next day, before returning home.
1964: My first complaint letter. Aged twelve, I wrote to London Transport, and to the ATV (Associated TeleVision) weekly ‘Fair Play’, after an inattentive bus conductress rang the bell for the driver to drive off, just as I was boarding. Both LT and ATV replied. My parents, horrified that I might appear on television, wrote to scotch that proposal.
1967: I read newspaper coverage of the passage of the Sexual Offences Bill. The Sexual Offences Act was passed, partially ‘decriminalising’ homosexual acts between two men, both over the age of 21, in private, in England and Wales. This was far from equality. There were significant exceptions. ‘In private’ meant with no one else anywhere in the building: even if the two men were in a locked room.
1968: April: a week in Paris with my school, before O-level exams. On the ferry to Dover, I was nominated to carry another pupil’s ‘duty free’ through Customs, as we were all under-age, but I looked the most law-abiding. May: student riots in Paris. August: Soviet tanks invaded Czechoslovakia.
Early 1970s: Coming Out
1971: Decimalisation. All my gay experiences have been decimal: none under the influence of £sd. My borough (Hillingdon) offered summer jobs to students, visiting schools to update floorplans or draw new ones. In one school we discovered a small device on the wall, with instructions in the event of nuclear attack. This was still the Cold War period.
Having been a diligent pupil at school, I became a studious undergraduate. I read that there was a gay pub, The Spotted Dog, in Brighton: but I never went there. Interesting employment prospects for a ‘pure’ mathematician appeared bleak, so afterwards I did a postgraduate ‘conversion course’ to computing, (and have never touched the maths since). Still having no experience of the gay ‘scene’, I risked outing myself to another student. One evening Graham and I had a drink in a nearby pub. As we left, a ‘squaddie’ from the Colchester barracks gratuitously punched me in the face. His two mates dragged him away. Was that homophobia? I have no idea.
1974: After an interview with one of the Marconi companies in Chelmsford, where the interviewer was clearly more nervous than I was, I was employed on an annual salary of £1,800. (That’s right: £150 a month, before deductions.) The hours of work were until 5:01, Monday to Thursday, and until 4:26 on Friday. We had to clock in and clock out, four times a day.
Some months later, after finally submitting my thesis, I rang the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) from a public ‘phone at Liverpool Street station. The GLF had moved, but happily the number had been taken over by Gay Switchboard, which gave me the ‘phone number for a gay couple who were listed as contacts for CHE (Campaign for Homosexual Equality). Mark and Bill (who lived in an old mill) kindly ferried me to a couple of oases in the gay desert of Essex: places unreachable by rural public transport. One was a village pub where I met (though was not impressed by) the flamboyant vicar of Thaxted, Peter Elers, whose young boyfriend scandalously lived with him in the vicarage. ( ‘The town of Thaxted is the queen of Essex …’ – Simon Jenkins, Country Churches, 2009) My first gay disco was at a hotel in Southend, where I danced with Rodney. Asked who would ‘lead’, I naively suggested we could toss for it: but that came later. I joined CHE, (attending annual conferences in Southampton, Nottingham, and Brighton – lots of police in Nottingham, in case of trouble by local louts), and I subscribed to the fortnightly newspaper Gay News. One evening I travelled back to Colchester, where the newly formed Gay Sweatshop performed Mister X at the university: gay actors in a gay play!
At Marconi my manager told me one day he’d seen a programme about gays on television. ‘Do you know, they even have their own newspapers!’, he said. The next day I took him the current issue of Gay News. He read it after his wife had gone to bed. She was catholic. The next day he told me, rather disappointed, that it read like a copy of the Catholic Herald. Religious homophobia was a recurrent theme. After that I daringly sold CHE raffle tickets at work.
In 1976 Gay News published The Love that Dares to Speak its Name: a poem by a professor of English, James Kirkup. (The title echoed Oscar Wilde’s reference at his trial to ‘The love that dare not speak its name’, from Lord Alfred Douglas’s poem ‘Two Loves’.) Not impressed with Kirkup’s poem, or with the accompanying drawing, I threw that issue out when moving. Later the paper and the editor, Denis Lemon, (who once presented me with a £20 note that I’d won in a pub raffle), were prosecuted by Mary Whitehouse, for ‘blasphemous libel’. (In 1921, John William Gott was jailed for that offence after ridiculing Jesus, entering Jerusalem ‘like a circus clown astride the backs of two donkeys’: though he had merely paraphrased Mark’s Gospel, ‘Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass’.)
Late 1970s: London
I resigned from Marconi to become a student again, living in Limehouse: before MP David Owen moved there and it became fashionable. (In the 1970s it was dire and grimy, with not even a blade of grass.) However, scene-wise, London was not arid like Essex, and watering holes were accessible by public transport. I even had a weekly disco within walking distance: though, adjacent to a convent, that one attracted an unholy assortment of churchy types. Thanks to Gay News, I discovered a better disco near Warren Street tube station.
Gay News was a serious newspaper, with professional and literate journalists, reporting on topical lesbian and gay issues. It also had a contacts section at the back. (Nothing too explicit.) Through that I met Ron: coincidentally living in Chelmsford. I was living in a 1930s student hostel: one small room with a single bed, with 40 other postgraduate students, (all from overseas). However, it was easier for Ron to visit me than me him. Squeezing into the small bed was manageable: but the 1967 Sexual Offences Act was a potential concern. Fortunately, the other students (many of them Muslim – some quite happy to drink alcohol) were either curious or indifferent, so not motivated to denounce us to anyone. A biology student from Pakistan had assumed that the only reason for one man to have sex with another was some form of inadequacy. So he questioned me. – ‘Does it stand up? Does it discharge?’ – Yes, thank you. Everything works beautifully!
I began attending a weekly gay swimming group in Holborn. I wasn’t able to swim when I first went: but lust can be a powerful motivator. After two years, another swimmer expressed concerns about a young friend of his, due to start as an undergraduate at my college. Would I make contact with him, and offer support if required? I did make contact, and met Rory: but it occurred to me that there might well be other new students in a similar position. So I formed the college’s first ever GaySoc. Folk in the student union office were supportive: but when I displayed posters around the college, some were removed by staff. I was told I’d pinned them on boards reserved for academic notices. Once I knew which boards were permitted, there were no further problems.
Prof. Peter Landin (who was living in a squat) and a lecturer whose name I forget happily attended some GaySoc meetings. We held a disco; participated in Blue Jeans Day – to frighten denimed homophobes into finding something else to wear that day; and had meetings with invited speakers. One was Jackie Forster, from Sappho. Another was Bryan Derbyshire, a journalist who later co-founded the Gay Business Association. He mentioned that, when he turned 30, a woman friend had invited him to have sex with her. To put him at his ease, she told him to treat her just as he would a man. Then she complained when he bit her tit! – Strange, the little things one remembers, decades later.
In 1978 a Gay Times Festival at the Drill Hall included workshops, discussion groups, and performances. I attended several events: including a massage workshop, where Peter Landin was one of the other participants. I attended various meetings at the University of London Union, (who were supportive when I was establishing the GaySoc), and at the Conway Hall (which held meetings of the Gay Humanist Group, later GALHA – the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association). One meeting had invited speakers from the Paedophile Information Exchange: a campaigning organisation which, because of the higher age of consent for gay men, was supported by several liberal organisations, including CHE and NCCL, (the National Council for Civil Liberties, now Liberty), and even obtained a Government grant. I remember that meeting only because, at the end, everyone present was instructed to remain seated until police had assembled to provide protection from hostile National Front protesters outside.
1980s: Switzerland; NHS; nesting; Section 28
After Limehouse I worked in Switzerland until 1985. (Everything there varies from canton to canton. Folk in most Swiss cantons write German: but the spoken language, schwyzertüütsch, is as different from German as Geordie is from English. In mixed company, with nonlocals, someone might ask: ‘Muss ich Schriftdeutsch reden?’ Do I need to speak written German!) I was out to a handful of Swiss colleagues. The gay scene was rather different from London. ‘Discos’ played records but had no dance area. There were saunas, and open-air cruising – even in the middle of winter. An activist organisation (Homosexuelle Arbeitsgruppen Schweiz – HACH) had individual groups in some cities: HAZ in Zürich, HALU in Luzern, etc., but nothing where I lived. Eventually I tried forming a gay swimming group: which proved quite successful. One member used to travel every week half-way across the country, from Basel. The group continued for many years after I left Switzerland: though after a while they skipped the swimming, just meeting in a restaurant.
In 1985 I returned to England. Having read reports of religious homophobia for a decade, I joined the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA). I also joined a weekly gay swimming group. Then I had a bad cold. My new GP listened to my chest, and noticed a rash over the upper half of my body. I hadn’t noticed it at that point. After I’d put my shirt on and sat down, he asked: ‘Are you gay?’ Yes. His response: ‘There’s a lot of AIDS about, isn’t there?’ He prescribed antibiotics, and told me to take a week off work. I disregarded his comment, although it struck me as crassly insensitive. Some patients might react by promptly committing suicide.
A week later I noticed a swelling on my throat. Swollen lymph nodes? One of the publicised symptoms of AIDS. I made another appointment, but the GP was not concerned: swollen glands can also occur with a cold. But I should see him again if the swelling persisted. The rash proved to be an allergy to Persil! A free packet had been included with a new washing machine. I had been allergic to Persil as a baby. But the swollen throat persisted. At some point I saw a consultant, and went on a waiting list to investigate the unexplained swelling.
After a swimming session in 1986 I was introduced by friends to Tony, a social worker who later established an AIDS/HIV helpline which eventually covered the boroughs of Ealing, Hounslow, and Hillingdon. I was supportive and attended various meetings, but was careful not to interfere. In 1987 Tony and I obtained a mortgage, with no trouble whatsoever: though previously a cohabiting male couple had needed to form a company with the stated objective of owning property! But when we attended my firm’s xmas do, I was promptly informed that my job (though no one else’s) was being outsourced to the Caribbean. Blatant homophobia, but perfectly legal!
1988: February: lesbians famously abseiled into the House of Lords. Local Government Act passed, with Section 28. Protest march along Whitehall: electrifying as the crowd surged when we approached Downing Street, but to no avail.
That autumn, 2½ years after first noticing my throat swelling, I went into hospital for investigation. The bureaucracy required being admitted 24 hours before the operation, ‘to claim the bed’ in the NHS jargon of the day. Tony and I were already living together, so I gave his name as next of kin. The next day staff checked the paperwork. I was informed that, as a gay man, I constituted an AIDS risk, so they couldn’t operate! Having attended training sessions for the AIDS/HIV helpline, I was better informed than the hospital staff: so I explained that they should be taking full precautions with all patients. They agreed that they would operate: but at the end of the day’s list, thoroughly decontaminating everything afterwards. I then spent a year writing to the hospital management, the Primary Care Trust, the Regional Care Trust, the health minister, and several other bodies, attempting to get policy and procedures improved. I was later told that the hospital had improved, but I never knew how true that was. – The swelling was diagnosed as a thyroglossal cyst: debris (which usually disappears around birth) from the formation of the thyroid gland. Perhaps that stage was skipped by my premature birth.
1990s: OutRage!; church homophobia; the Internet
1990: OutRage! was formed after the murder of gay actor Michael Boothe. Tony & I attended an OutRage! kiss-in at Eros, Piccadilly.
1992: Tony and I separated. As this predated civil partnerships, lawyers were not a concern. I then did evening classes in psychology for a year. (Due to austerity and revised funding priorities, colleges no longer offer subjects like that.) I found the syllabus very interesting: but there was no advice for domestic bliss – even for straight couples.
In the following years I had several dalliances. One was with Douglas, who at one point suggested we should become an ‘item’. I was in no hurry. Later he asked me to comment on an application form he had drafted. Approaching the age of 40, he felt a need for progeny, so was planning to advertise for a woman or a lesbian couple to bear and raise him a child! He would provide the sperm. Horrified by his suggestion, I replied that perhaps he didn’t have quite the right motivation for fatherhood. Then he proposed an alternative: marrying a woman. I’ve occasionally wondered how that went, and how his wife and any offspring fared. You need a driving test and a licence to drive a motor vehicle on the public highway. There really should be a test of suitability for parenthood before couples are licensed to procreate!
One GALHA meeting at the Conway Hall in 1995 had invited speakers from OutRage! The group’s early years are amazingly well documented in ‘OutRage!: An Oral History‘ by former member Ian Lucas. I began attending weekly meetings in the YMCA building off Tottenham Court Road, which typically attracted around forty people.
My first OutRage! zap was in July, at the farewell service for the bishop of St. Albans, where the cathedral had been supporting ‘curing’ gay men. An unending procession of clerics, of varying seniority, wearing much costly ecclesiastical bling, wound its way around the cathedral. An obscene dazzlement of superstitious males wearing clerical drag. – ‘Let us strangle the last king with the entrails of the last priest’. – Quotation by Jean Meslier (a French priest who was a closet atheist), rephrased by the French philosopher Denis Diderot.
In August came the Creation: the launch of Windows 95 with Microsoft Word. In 1996 I obtained a bank loan and purchased my first computer, to run an air quality monitoring project for Friends of the Earth in schools in the boroughs surrounding Heathrow Airport. I also used it to run the OutRage! website.
As the internet was still in its infancy, I faxed or wrote to the embassies of selected EU and Commonwealth countries (depending upon available contact details) requesting national policies for blood donors. Intravenous drug users were generally barred: but policies regarding gay men and prostitutes varied significantly. Homophobia in blood donation policies was rife.
In April 1997 OutRage! zapped 60 Anglican primates from around the world, assembled in London to plan the 1998 Lambeth Conference. One Sunday we scaled the walls of Lambeth Palace where homophobic Archbishop George Carey was on the lawn with his visitors. Carey was notoriously opposed to gay marriage, gay parenting, gay clergy, and gay everything: apart from gay celibacy. The following Sunday we confronted the primates again in Southwark Cathedral, kneeling silently in front of the altar with placards.
1990s: New Labour; Canterbury; Soho bomb; Mugabe
OutRage! was not all zaps. After the predicted ‘Labour landslide’ at the 1997 General Election, New Labour was in no hurry to introduce ‘equality and justice for us all’. On behalf of OutRage!, I wrote to Tony Blair, concluding by asking: ‘When and how do you intend to fulfil your fine words and pledges?’
In 1998 I bought a digital camera. Henceforth the OutRage! website was enhanced with photographs of demonstrations.
In April the Equality Alliance was launched: over 70 national gay rights and international human rights organisations, including OutRage!, angered by the unwillingness of the ‘new’ Labour Government to repeal discriminatory laws. Highly topical concerns included the age of consent (European Court of Human Rights – Euan Sutherland and Chris Morris), gays in the military (European Court of Human Rights – John Beckett, Graeme Grady, Duncan Lustig-Prean, and Jeanette Smith), and employment rights (European Court of Justice – Lisa Grant and Jill Percey vs. South-West Trains). After a promising start, the Alliance sadly folded, and New Labour continued to delay law reform. A preliminary verdict by the European Court of Justice found in favour of Lisa Grant and Jill Percey: but the final ruling went against them, as there was nothing in law compelling an organisation to abide by its own policies!
On Easter Sunday, OutRage! famously invaded the pulpit in Canterbury Cathedral, interrupting our old friend Archbishop George Carey during his sermon, (televised and broadcast live around the world). The seven protesters included Matthew, Mark, and John, (as per the Gospels), though no Luke. (Our cover was nearly blown as, anxious not to be recognised, Peter Tatchell sat amongst the congregation wearing a balaclava! One of the attendants immediately instructed him to remove it.) Only Peter was arrested: charged under Section 2 of the 1860 Ecclesiastical Courts Jurisdiction Act. I dashed home, to amend and distribute a press release: by fax, as dinosaur journalists still did not use email. My (computer) mouse died on me while I was updating the draft: but, under Sunday Trading legislation, I couldn’t buy a replacement as shops were closed on Easter Sunday. Persevering, I managed to send the faxes.
At Peter’s trial in Canterbury in December, I was a witness for the defence. I had to loiter with intent: not permitted to enter the court where Peter was being tried, but able to observe other trials. I watched a few: a sad succession of brief appearances by young males pleading guilty to motoring offences. I also browsed my collection of news cuttings for relevant items, but was informed while giving evidence that witnesses cannot refer to notes unless this has been agreed in advance. Afterwards I sat at the back and watched the remainder of the trial. Found guilty on the second day, Peter was fined a token £18.60, as the magistrate clearly felt that the 1860 Act was outdated.
In April 1999 London was shattered by three nail bombs: Brixton, injuring 48; Brick Lane, injuring 13; and the Admiral Duncan gay pub in Soho, killing three and injuring 79 – including four who had limbs amputated. The day after the Soho bomb, OutRage!, Stonewall, and the London Lesbian & Gay Switchboard marched with others from Brixton to Soho. One week after the Soho bomb, OutRage! organised a vigil in Old Compton Street, addressed by Ken Livingstone, MP (the former leader of the Greater London Council) and community speakers. Jack Straw (Home Secretary) was notably absent.
Three days after the Soho bomb, I wrote on behalf of OutRage! to Jack Straw. I proposed tougher sentences for violence and harassment against lesbians and gay men; repealing Section 28 (see next paragraph); reforms in schools, (promoting integration, eradicating bullying, balanced sex education); and consulting on LGBT law reform not just with Stonewall but with a larger, democratic, representative and accountable forum. (Stonewall had their own agenda, claiming to represent lesbians and gay men, and were keen to collect only money from their supporters, not views or opinions.) I cited several examples of documented police homophobia and incompetence, and invited Straw to attend the Vigil of Remembrance four days later at the Admiral Duncan.
Having received no reply from Jack Straw, I wrote to David Blunkett, (Secretary of State for Education and Employment). Section 28 of the 1988 Local Government Act included this notorious wording. – ‘A local authority shall not: (a) intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality; (b) promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship.’ This was widely interpreted by schools and youth clubs as prohibiting any form of support to LGBT pupils, even when being bullied or assaulted. Citing surveys on homophobic bullying and attempted suicide, I urged him to call on schools to take firm action to halt all forms of homophobic bullying.
After unimpressive replies from the Home Office and the Department of Education, I wrote again to Tony Blair. Blair had sent a message of support to London’s Pride celebrations after the 1997 General Election, (read by Chris Smith and televised): but that was classed as a personal communication, so the text could not be released! After quoting from both the replies and from several senior Labour politicians, I urged him ‘as a priority to address this disastrous deficiency by assigning responsibility to a competent, dynamic and committed individual, who is empowered to “kick ass” and get things moving’.
In October 1999, OutRage! detained the President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, for his strident homophobia and human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. Mugabe, enjoying a weekend break in London, was leaving his hotel to go shopping in Harrods. Intending to make a citizen’s arrest, we stopped Mugabe’s car. I lay on the bonnet. (No training on health and safety.) Coincidentally police were attending a nearby demonstration (on the pros and cons of allowing corporal punishment in schools): but our zap was manifestly more interesting, so they came over. Instead of detaining Mugabe, they removed me from the bonnet, and allowed Mugabe’s two cars to drive off. They arrested the other three protesters, but not me, explaining to my amusement, ‘If you’re not going to resist, we’re not going to arrest you’. Not being arrested proved quite useful, as it allowed me to submit a damning witness statement. Charges against all three were dropped in December.
In December 1999 I wrote again to Jack Straw, enumerating under ten headings the continuing ministerial avoidance of LGBT issues. In New Zealand Georgina Beyer had become an MP in 1999, and Germany had Christian Schenk in the Bundestag: both transsexual. What was the obstacle to appointing a UK ministerial coordinator for LGBT issues?
By the millennium, weekly OutRage! meetings had become inquorate: so there was no mechanism to dissolve the group. The final group protest was in January 2000, outside St. Paul’s Cathedral, marking ‘2000 Years of Church Homophobia’. The website is archived at http://www.rosecottage.me.uk/OutRage-archives/
Early 2000s: The Beginnings of Legal Equality
Although I never received a reply to my December 1999 letter to Jack Straw, change was afoot. The Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000 reduced the age of consent for gay male sex to 16, (17 in Northern Ireland) and decriminalised consensual group sex for gay men. This was soon superseded by the Sexual Offences Act 2003: scrapping the offences of buggery and gross indecency; extending rape to include forced oral, anal and vaginal intercourse; and creating a new offence of ‘assault by penetration’. Section 28 was repealed by the 2003 Local Government Bill, (after the death of ‘Tory former Lords Leader and prominent ‘family values’ campaigner Baroness Young [of Farnworth]’ – not to be confused with Baroness Young of Old Scone).
In December 2003 the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations came into force: secondary legislation ‘which prohibited employers unreasonably discriminating against employees on grounds of sexual orientation, perceived sexual orientation, religion or belief and age’, later superseded by the Equality Act 2010. Then the 2004 Civil Partnership Act permitted same-sex couples to become civil partners, ‘with rights and responsibilities very similar to civil marriage’.
2000s: More Religion
Outside the legislative sphere, other LGBT issues remained. One was Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, inexplicably described by some as a ‘moderate Muslim’. In 2004 he was invited to speak at London’s City Hall, despite extreme misogyny, antisemitism, and advocating stoning homosexuals. He was warmly greeted by Mayor Ken Livingstone. I picketed with former OutRage! stalwarts and representatives of other organisations. We also collaborated in attempting to hold Livingstone to account, and raised this at City Hall’s LGBT Forum: but the Forum was downgraded, and the complaint got nowhere. In 2006 Qaradawi called for an ‘international day of anger’ over publication of the Danish caricatures of Mohammed: though by now he was being described as ‘a leading hard-line Muslim cleric’. Livingstone was succeeded as mayor by Boris Johnson in 2008.
Also in 2006, the Gay Police Association placed an advertisement in the Independent for London Pride. The text, accompanying a picture of a bible, noted over the previous 12 months a 74% increase in homophobic incidents, where the sole or primary motivating factor was the religious belief of the perpetrator’. A second advertisement had been planned, with an image of the Qur’an. Chief Inspector Paul Cahill, head of the GPA explained: ‘The vast majority of incidents where faith was an integral factor, came from Christians– as you might expect from a Christian country– but a disproportionately high number of faith hate incidents were also from Muslims who take objection to gay lifestyles. I mean disproportionate to the number of Muslims in the country.’ Christian homophobes did not hesitate to complain: but the Crown Prosecution Service found insufficient evidence to charge the GPA under hate crimes legislation. Although I was not involved in the GPA affair, which was widely reported, it reflected street-level religious homophobia beyond faithist lobby groups and later concerns about baking gay cakes.
In October 2007 the International Herald Tribune (since incorporated into the New York Times) reported that a gay man in Spain had successfully challenged the Archdiocese of Valencia, invoking data protection legislation. The National Court ruled that baptismal records should note that he had left the church. So I emailed the Church of England’s data controller, asking whether the CoE was exempt from the 2000 Freedom of Information Act. Their communication skills were abysmal: protracted delays, and at one point admitting that the church where I was baptised was not listed in their database. Eventually they replied. Having taken legal advice, they suggested publicising my debaptism in the London Gazette. The Church of England is not governed by the Freedom of Information Act, as it is not a ‘public authority’. An announcement in the London Gazette was duly published.
In 2009 I was solemnly presented with an NSS certificate of debaptism outside the church, televised by the BBC. Three months later, without any ceremony, I was ordained as an atheist minister. In the USA, that would entitle me to officiate at weddings and funerals: but not (yet) in the UK. In 2010 I participated in several ‘Protest the Pope’ events for arch-homophobe Joseph Ratzinger’s state visit, with 10,000 marchers protesting in central London. Now, in March 2021, Henry Ndukuba, archbishop of Nigeria, has issued a ‘statement on the pastoral care of gay people‘: ‘The deadly ‘virus’ of homosexuality … is likened to a yeast that should be urgently and radically expunged and excised lest it affects the whole dough.’ Well, mythical Jesus reportedly said: ‘Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.’ (Matthew 10:34)
In the 1970s there were several Marconi companies in Chelmsford. I worked for MRSL (Marconi Radar Systems Ltd.): predominantly on software for the Scottish Air Traffic Control Centre. As the computers had no discs, the software was loaded into core memory from paper tape. The ENTIRE programme had to fit into 60 KILObytes. Not gigabytes, or even megabytes. Of course, the finished system exceeded the 60K. In the absence of electronic shoehorns, they jettisoned the software which I had written to check that the hardware was functioning correctly. Safety critical? Not a priority. – Is this disclosure a breach of the Official Secrets Act?
Over the past decade, the vicar at the church where I was baptised later made national headlines. In 2011 he was arrested for performing over 490 ‘sham marriages’: mostly EU brides and non-EU husbands. In 2014 he and six co-defendants appeared for trial in Southwark: breaches of immigration law, deception, and fraud – withholding £69K marriage fees from Southwark Diocese. (Did the diocese want to receive the proceeds of crime?) In the seventh week the trial suddenly collapsed because of police corruption and prosecution incompetence. The judge was not amused. This was a ‘high profile case’ where ministerial approval had been obtained (from Home Secretary Theresa May) to raid the church and arrest the vicar. The following Sunday the vicar was back in church, being blessed by his bishop. However, in 2017 the church began an investigation, and in 2019 he was defrocked. – Just one week after the vicar’s trial collapsed, the trial of an imam charged with conducting 580 bogus marriages collapsed: due to Home Office incompetence.
The Church of England has been declining steadily for over a century. Marriages are now down to around 20,000 a year. Justin Welby, the current Archbishop of Canterbury, ‘prays in tongues’ (i.e. utter gibberish) to his imaginary god every morning. Do we need a ‘Chexit’ referendum to disestablish it, ensuring that its ill-gotten billions go to the State not as perks for chumocracy, but to ‘build better’: schools, hospitals, housing, and a sustainable environment?
Qaradawi and Ndukuba are not the only strident fanatics. At protests at schools in Birmingham and elsewhere, shrill religious fanatics have insisted that LGBTQ+ tolerance is NO part of their culture or religion. Pupils have been in tears. Staff have received death threats. In 2019 Asifa Lahore ( ‘Britain’s First Out Muslim Drag Queen‘), whose school years were dominated by Section 28, advocated ‘our collective responsibility to make ourselves heard and refuse anything less than an education for all children that celebrates modern Britain and its multicultural diversity’. In April 2020, Andrew Moffat of No Outsiders stated that he had received no recent death threats. Time to relax? The price of freedom (or liberty) is eternal vigilance!
John Hunt (March 2021)